Big hitting in the Pirates’ minor league affiliates’ Sunday action:
Altoona Curve 13, Reading Phillies 4 (conclusion of suspended game)
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The Curve were way out in front when rain halted play on Saturday evening, leading 11-1 in the middle of the 3rd. When play resumed today, Matt McSwain took over on the mound for starter Aaron Pribanic. McSwain gave up a solo home run in the bottom of the 3rd, to make it 11-2. McSwain retired the R-Phils in order over the next three innings, until he gave up another solo homer, followed by two singles, in the 7th.
CF Starling Marte singled for the Curve in the 4th but did not score. The Curve went down in order for the next two innings, then they rallied again in the top of the 7th. RF Anthony Norman led off with a walk, and Marte singled again. A throwing error by the R-Phils third baseman let Norman score. Marte advanced to third base, and he scored on SS Jordy Mercer’s sacrifice fly.
Aaron Thompson came on in relief in the 8th inning. He gave up a single and a walk, but retired the next three batters for a scoreless 8th. Reading scored one more time in the bottom of the 9th, on a single, a walk, and an RBI double, but it was way too little and way to late, and the Curve had the win.
Reading Phillies 2, Altoona Curve 1 (scheduled game)
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The Curve should have saved a few hits and runs for this game. They posted 6 hits, with 2 each by CF Starling Marte and RF Brad Chalk, and one each by SS Jordy Mercer and C Tony Sanchez. Their only run came in the top of the 1st, on a single by Marte and Mercer’s RBI double.
The Curve put at least one runner on base in all but one of the rest of the innings, but could not bring anyone around to score. Sanchez and Chalk hit back-to-back singles in the 2nd, and that was their biggest threat. A strikeout and a ground out ended that rally.
Jeff Locke pitched 5 innings in his start. He gave up one single over the first two innings, then gave up a solo home run with two outs in the 3rd to tie the game. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases after the homer, but a fly out got Locke out of that jam. Locke also gave up a single in both the 4th and the 5th.
Donnie Veal relieved Locke to begin the 6th inning. He also gave up a 2-out solo home run for the go-ahead run, and was charged with the loss. The Curve had one last chance in the top of the 7th, when Sanchez led off with a walk, then went to second base on a bunt by Chalk, but he was left stranded when the game ended.
Everyone in action on Thursday evening…. and the State College Spikes begin their season next week on Friday
Altoona Curve 5, Erie SeaWolves 4
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A 4-run 4th inning gave the Curve a big boost, and a run in the bottom of the 8th gave them the win over Erie. Starter Mike Colla held the SeaWolves to two hits in the 1st inning, and retired the side in the 2nd and 3rd, to get a good start. He gave up a walk and a 2-run homer in the top of the 4th, to put Erie onto the scoreboard.
The Curve had only two walks (3B Jeremy Farrell and CF Starling Marte) and a single by 2B Brock Holt over the first three innings. Then they too broke out in the 4th inning. LF Quincy Latimore led off the inning with a solo home run. After an out, Farrell singled and C Tony Sanchez was hit by a pitch. RF Brad Chalk hit the first of three singles in the gmae, driving in Farrell from second base. Sanchez reached third base on the play, then stole home as Chalk stole second base behind him, both reaching safely. A wild pitch put Chalk on third base, and he scored on Holt’s double, to give the Curve a 4-2 lead.
Colla retired the side in order again in the 5th, then gave up a lead-off homer in the 6th, to bring Erie within one run of the Curve, 4-3. Colla allowed 5 hits and one walk, with 5 strikeouts in his 6 innings. He was relieved by Aaron Thompson, who pitched a 1-2-3 7th inning. Thompson was charged with a Blown Save when he gave up the tying run in the 8th. A lead-off single, a sacrifice bunt, a walk with a wild pitch on ball four, and an RBI ground out brought the game to a 4-4 tie.
Jeremy Farrell got the lead back for the Curve with a lead-off home run to begin the bottom of the 8th. Chalk also picked up his third hit of the game with a single after the home run, but he was thrown out at second base. Noah Krol pitched the 9th inning, and earned his 12th save with a perfect inning.
Tonight it’s the Bradenton Marauders who have a scheduled night off….
Altoona Curve 10, Erie SeaWolves 5
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The Curve posted 13 hits, with CF Starling Marte leading the barrage with 3 of them. The Curve jumped out to a 6-0 lead with 2 runs in the bottom of the 1st and 4 more in the 2nd. 2B Brock Holt opened the bottom of the 1st with a double into center field. Marte’s ground out moved Holt to third base, and he scored on SS Jordy Mercer’s single into left field. Mercer advanced to second base on a ground out by LF Quincy Latimore, and he scored on 1B Matt Curry’s RBI single.
The 2nd inning began with a walk by C Tony Sanchez, followed by a ground-rule double by DH Kris Watts. Both runners held their place on a short fly out and a strike out, then Marte singled, driving in Sanchez. Marte stole second base, and the Erie pitcher threw a wild pitch, allowing Watts to score. A 2-run homer by Mercer brought in Marte and gave the Curve the 6-0 lead.
Erie got two of the runs back in the top of the 3rd off starter Jeff Locke. A single and a hit batter gave the SeaWolves 2 runners on base with 2 outs. The lead runner came in on a fielding error by Mercer, then a single plated the second unearned run of the inning. A double, a fielding error by Latimore, and a sacrifice fly gave Erie a third run in the 4th inning.
The Curve kept adding on. Watts blasted a solo homer in the 3rd. In the 5th, Curry doubled, then scored on Sanchez’s line drive single into center field, and the Curve led 8-3. Sanchez also stole second base and went to third on a throwing error, but was left there when Watts struck out.
Locke pitched 6 innings and allowed 3 runs (1 earned) on 6 hits, no walks, while striking out 8 batters. Tim Alderson came on in relief to begin the 7th, but he got into trouble right away. With one out, he gave up a single and three consecutive walks, driving in a run. Michael Dubee replaced Alderson, and he got the next batter to ground out, but that brought in another run, also charged to Alderson. Dubee ended the inning with a strikeout. Dubee also pitched a scoreless 8th inning, allowing 2 singles. Noah Krol pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 9th.
Altoona rallied one more time in the bottom of the 8th. With one out, Watts was hit by a pitch, and RF Brad Chalk ripped a triple into right field, easily scoring Watts. Chalk scored on Holt’s RBI single, and Marte also added a single — his third of the game.
Saturday evening’s action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates.
Portland Sea Dogs 4, Altoona Curve 0
The Curve were held to just 6 base runners — 3 singles and 3 walks, and could not push any of them around to score. SS Jordy Mercer was the only Curve to reach base in the first 5 innings. He walked to lead off the 2nd inning, but was out at second base when 1B Matt Curry flied out.
Starter Mike Colla retired Portland in order in the first two innings, but gave up a solo home run in the 3rd. He gave up another solo blast in the 4th, and struck out the other three batters in that inning. In the 5th, a lead-off double and an RBI single gave the Sea Dogs their third run in the 5th. Portland’s third homer of the game made it 4-0 in the 6th. Colla left after 6 innings, having allowed 7 hits (3 homers and 4 other hits), one walk, and 6 strikeouts. He threw 94 pitches, with 58 strikes.
The Curve threatened in the 6th inning, with a walk by DH Kris Watts and singles by RF Brad Chalk and 2B Brock Holt loading the bases with one out. But CF Starling Marte bounced into a double play to end the inning. Mercer singled in the 7th, and he was also erased with a double play. Chalk walked in the 9th, but was left on base.
Matt McSwain pitched 2 scoreless innings for the Curve in relief of Colla. He gave up two singles, but one was eliminated with a double play, and the other was left stranded. Noah Krol pitched the top of the 9th, allowing a walk and a single.
West Virginia Power 5, Lexington Legends 4
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Jameson Taillon surrendered 4 runs on 8 hits in 5 innings, but he still pulled out his second win of the season. The 4 runs all came in the bottom of the 6th inning. The Legends started the inning with back-to-back doubles, driving in one run. A single and a fielding error by LF Rogelios Noris added a second run, then a 2-run homer made the score 4-0.
The Power tied the score in the top of the 4th. RF Dan Grovatt started the rally with a walk, and moved to second base on a wild pitch. DH Kawika Emsley-Pai and C Elias Diaz also walked, loading the bases. With two outs, 2B Andy Vazquez lined a single into center field, bringing in Grovatt and Emsley-Pai, and leaving runners on the corners. Another walk, to 3B Eric Avila, loaded the bases again. Then SS Drew Maggi lined another 2-RBI single into right field, plating Diaz and Vasquez to tie the game at 4-4.
Grovatt began another rally in the 5th, with a single. A passed ball advanced Grovatt to second base, and he moved up to third base on 1B Justin Howard’s ground out. Emsley-Pai drove Grovatt in with a single up the middle, and Grovatt came in with the go-ahead run.
Taillon worked around at least one runner on base in 4 of his 5 innings. He had a batter reach on a throwing error by Avila in the 1st, and he also gave up a single in the bottom of the 1st. Taillon allowed a single and a double in the 3rd, but a double play helped him out of that jam. He also gave up a lead-off single in the 5th, but retired the next three batters on three ground outs.
Casey Sadler relieved Taillon to begin the 6th. Sadler pitched 3 scoreless innings and allowed just one single in the 6th, and a walk in the 8th. He struck out 3 Legends’ batters. Jason Townsend earned his 5th Save of the season with a scoreless 9th, allowing a single.
After taking the lead in the 5th, the Power put at least one runner on base in every inning for the rest of the game. Maggi tripled in the 6th, and Howard singled in the 7th. Noris reached base on a fielding error in the 8th. Both Grovatt and Howard walked in the 9th inning. None of them could push around to score.